Not even remotely authentic Asian-style pork roast.

Living in New York, I am extremely spoilt in certain respects. Without leaving city limits, I get to see the best bands in the world; I can track down two dozen brass paper fasteners made to mimic those belonging to King George (you’d be surprised how often that sort of thing is necessary); I can consume real, true, honest-to-blog chinese food. Not that MSG-laden, gloopy, constarch, mall chinese food (though I will totally say there’s a time and a place for that–don’t get me wrong); I’m talking about the Real Deal. The good stuff. I’m talking, specifically, about roast pork. Crispy, salty, sweet, melting, roast pork. I slip into a bit of a reverie just thinking about it.

Totally inauthentic Asian-style pork roast

Sadly, I’m fairly certain that The Good Stuff is a pain in the ass to make; if the legends are true, people learn at the feet of masters for months (years!) to hone this skill and figure out what’s what. Getting it really right is the study of a lifetime, if you can even find a decent teacher; naturally, that means I am desperate to make it. Of course, I am a realist. I know that I am unlikely to ever showcase the mettle necessary to stand more or less inside an industrial oven with a whole pig for hours, learning how to determine the perfect texture by touch alone and burning myself into jerky in the process. I’ve accepted that. This knowledge, however, will not stop me from tinkering in my kitchen in pursuit of a reasonable facsimile.

Note: This recipe is not that reasonable facsimile. It is, however, incredibly delicious

More totally inauthentic Asian-style pork roast

The latest installment in this quest of mine is a faux-asian-style pork roast, easy to throw together on a weekday night. Essentially, it’s a glazed hunk of pork, tender and moist and delicious–though it bears absolutely no resemblance to the char siu of my dreams. It’s made aromatic by bucketloads of ginger and garlic, and given a savory mystique through hoisin sauce and rice vinegar. What really makes it shine, however, is the addition of some pomegranate molasses, a thick, tangy syrup whose awesome powers I have yet to truly unleash. It gives the glazeĀ  mysterious, fruity depth, as well as a lovely sparkle. (Pomegranate molasses is probably available at your local Whole Foods, as well as at your friendly neighborhood middle eastern store. Should you have neither one nearby, you can also buy it here.)

As I said, this dish bears no resemblance to the buttery, savory roast pork of my dreams, but it is an interesting twist on a Sunday lunch favorite–and absolutely divoon in a sandwich the next day.

Asian-style pork roast

2 tbsp ginger, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1/2c rice vinegar
1/2c sake
1/2 hot water or stock
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 (2-3 lb) boneless pork loin roast
chinese 5-spice powder

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F. Pat the pork dry and rub it liberally with salt and five-spice powder. Place the meat in a roasting pan and roast without pestering it for about 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the marinade–just mix everything together.
  3. After the pork has been in for 15 minutes, open the oven and pour 1/2c of the marinade over the top. Lower the heat to 325F. Continue to roast, adding about 1/4c of marinade every 15 minutes or so. If liquid builds up in the pan, use that for basting; if not, keep using the marinade.
  4. After the pork has been cooking for about 1 1/4 hours, start checking its internal temperature–when it’s done, it will register at about 145-150F. Set it aside for at least ten minutes before cutting.
In asian, pork, roasting

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